Discussion in 'Eastern Europe' started by Gibson, Mar 20, 2002.
Erich, I may know many Germans but, I dont know much German Do you feel like translating??
Ich bin zu Ihrer Rettung gekommen ! ......... I have come to your rescue.......
how can I assist ?
Carl, if you need the Spiegels website, it is www.spiegel.de , now the article costs .50cents to read onlinebut I can copy and paste it here if you guys don't mind ( I don't know how copyrights apply though, so I guess I rather wait til Otto gives a nod).
What? The Spiegel charges to read articles online?! Cheeky nutters I'd almost have called them...
What did they do with the Soviet sub captain that sank the Wilhelm Gustloff? I never knew they punished him!
Hello Erich, Miro and Andreas.
Erich--many thanks and I will ask a few translation favors of you in the near future....
Miro-Many many thanks--Ill check this site out tomorrow after I check my emails to see if I am now the proud owner of an 1870 EK2 with 25 year Oak Leaves or not--which Detlev Niemann has for sale.
Andreas: yep, the Russian high command did punish that kapitan because even they were appalled at what that kapitan did. I forget what all they did, I do know that the kapitan was disgraced and forced into "retirement". I also know that that kapitan died a broken man and dirt poor.
Andreas, they don't charge to read the online edition, which is quite different from the actual articles printed in the magazine itself. Those articles and reports that are printed cost .50 Euros to read online. But if you are a German living abroad like me, it is the best you can do I guess, since I really cannot afford to buy the real magazine at the airport for even more horrendous money every week.
Do they at least offer the "Hohlspiegel" for free? Otherwise, if you're in need of German humour, try www.titanic-magazin.de
Going back to earlier in the thread, I'd hardly heard of the Seelow Heights, but the BBC 'Timewatch' series recently showed a documentary about the 'Battle of Berlin'.
This showed interesting coverage of historian Antony Beevor 'walking the battlefield' near the River Oder, visiting Zhukov's command dugout and on to the Heights themselves. It made me realise how little has been known here of the truly desperate fighting which happened in the area before Berlin.
The battle for the Seelow heights was one of the most ferocious battles in all WW2- I think by this point all the germans knew they had no real hope of winning, so they fought like they had no option.
Here's another on- "Spring Awakening", the offensive by the 6th SS PzR army attempting to re-take Budapest in spring 45. This operation was a dismal failure for the germans, worse than many... Nearly all of the reamining armor reserves were committed to this, including at least two full companies of TigerII tanks. All this armor was deployed immediately following the spring thaw- consequently, most of the armor, especially heavy armor, simply sunk into the mud while trying to get off. As usual, the russians figured out what the germans were trying and set up major defences.
In all, this operation decimated the last reserves of german armor, and cost the lives of many of the more experienced SS soldiers who would likely have fought furoiusly in defence of Germany...
In actuality the 6th SS Panzer Korps destroyed huge numbers of Soviet Panzers, including many JS II's.
Crazy do you have the big book Drama between Budapest and Vienna ?....the German edition was produced some years ago. The new English edition is coming soon I hope through JJF pubs out of Canada.
Hmmm, Erich... do you have any numbers/sources for the russian tanks destroyed? I've read on this operation in a couple books, unfortunately don't have info now (at work). From what I read, the germans may have destroyed many russian tanks, but they also lost the vast majority of their tanks in the process.
This is from http://www.geocities.com/oddball_07/infos/russia2.html (not sure about reliability, but all I've got now!)
And this is what I've read as well. Also, Budapest was not liberated from the russians, so Spring Awakening failed in that sense as well. I would put the significance of this battle in that forces that could have been used to defend berlin were instead wasted in an operation which had no chance of success.
Indeed, Seelow heights was a pretty hard battle in which we fought ferouscely because two very weak armies: 12th and 9th which had the strenght of a corps (full of Volksturm) could not face Zhúkov and Koniev with their 2.500.000 men and 40.000 guns...
But I think that there are very unfairly forgotten battles. Like Memel and all the battles fought with the Baltic on the backs, where the army was being totally smashed and was trapped. But the Kriegsmarine played the hero role when its heavy naval cannons smashed one and another Russian attacks and the brave mariners in floating rubble could evacuate civilians and the troops. If these battles are unfairly forgotten, much more unfair is to forget about the real heroes there: the Kriegsmarine men.
My understanding is that the Budapest reliefe from the W-SS was from the north and due west and it was stalemated by weather primarily. The Soviets did put up a stout resistance though. Don't have numbers unfortunately of Soviet/German losses in men or materials. Spring awakening was even worse for the Russians as several wedges were driven deep into their lines, but again the W-SS was called back due to Soviet advances to the north and North-east, thus the major offensive was called of in Hungary and the final battles of Berlin took place was by Luftwaffe standards started in February of 45.
I think that the 6. SS Panzerarmee was wasted in that counter attack, because all those elite units could have been used to defend the Reich's soil. Althought, the strategic conception of Hitler, that the oil-fields should have been kept was correct.
True on the weather, Erich. I've read in a few places that the spring thaw, combined with wet and warm weather, made the ground in the area of the attack unusable for tanks. One of my books (SS-The Blood Soaked Soil)(love the melodramatic title!) actually mentions King Tiger tanks sinking up to their turrets in mud...
And while the germans may have driven significantly inot the russian lines (I've read as deep as 20 miles), in doing so they sacrificed the most of the last reserves of their heavy armor and SS troops.
Here's another one for under-appreciated battles- Army Group North! I've been reading a bit lately on the exploits of the northern Army group in Russia. To start, Army Group North had less armour and equipment than either groups Center or South. And throughout 42-43, units were constantly removed from North to support the Center and South. And yet, despite this, Army Group North held the siege of Leningrad, fought off numerous Soviet assualts, and even survived for a while cut off on the Courland penninsula. Yet it seems that we rarely read about the Army Group North...
Spring Awakening was a multi W-SS Pz. Korps attack. I will have to check two maps that I have via one of the old OOP Munin Verlag titles, but I do believe also that the W-SS Panzers ran out of fuel as in the Ardenne and many of the Königstigers were left, either in perfect running order or the crews blew the barrels and interiors out, upon retreating.
more research needed. Your description of the far north is true, especially during the chaoticness of 1944 from Latvia, Lithuania and the final days through Ost Preussia where there is hardly a text book that covers this....
Hey, crazy! I was thinking on that too! And well, I post it when I mentioned the situation in the Baltic in late 1944 until the end of the war. But you are right, we just know about HG "Nord" for the Leningrad siege and even of it we don't know much... It is a pity...
Two things come to mind, Narva and Courland Pocket. There were some outstanding performances in both those battles. There were some other smaller scaled battles during the siege. Wish I had more info.
Narva was one of the other actions I was thinking of. The defence there was pretty impressive. And correct me if I'm wrong- isn't Narva often referred to as the battle of the foreign SS? I've read that SS Wiking took part in the battles, along with other units containing many foreign volunteers.
And the part of Army Group North that was trapped on the courland penninsula lasted for a very long time despite being cut off from everything and attacked incessantly.
I'll check what I've got tonight, see if I can come up with more info.
Yes, I think there were several of those men, including 5. SS Panzer. The only support they had were the guns of Prinz Eugen, Admiral Hipper, Lützow, Nürnberg, Köln, Emden, etc. And certainly, it avoided the trapped men to be anhilated.